The demand for qualified nurses is increasing every day. To be effective in this profession, you need to take courses that provide a solid knowledge of the core concepts of healthcare. These five classes appear in many college programs (please see: 30 Best Affordable RN-BSN Degree Programs) as requirements on the path toward a nursing career.
Anatomy and Physiology
Anatomy classes teach you all the details of every system the human body contains. You’ll learn about bones and muscles, the circulatory system, digestive organs, the brain and nerves, the urinary tract and more. Physiology pulls it all together with explanations of how these systems work independently and in concert with each other. This knowledge is essential when interpreting symptoms. You need to know how a problem with one part of the body may affect another or how a disease in one system may cause symptoms in another area that seems unrelated.
A growing body of research is bringing to light the major impact that dietary choices have on health. Studying nutrition gives you insight into this information and how it can be used to help patients. When you know how food affects the body, you’ll be able to make correlations between what a patient eats and his or her health problems. Some foods may interact with medications and need to be identified to prevent complications. Nutrition classes are also vital to understanding how patients obtain important nutrients from diets that are restricted due to personal choices, religious statutes, allergies, intolerances or illnesses.
Food, medications, herbs, vitamins and health supplements are all made up of chemicals, and any number of these may be present in a patient’s body at a given time. The complex chemical reactions that take place at a cellular level moment by moment, make for a confusing mix that chemistry classes can help you decode. Learning more about chemical structures and how different substances interact makes it easier to understand what goes on in the body during an illness and how medications and other substances influence the body’s response.
Taking an algebra or statistics course as part of your nursing studies may seem unusual, but math is an integral part of the nursing profession. When giving medication in an emergency situation, you may have to scale the dose on a moment’s notice depending on the weight and age of the patient. Daily doses must be measured and administered precisely, especially for patients that are on multiple medications. Taking advanced mathematics courses in high school prepares you for the college-level math involved in a nursing degree by ensuring that you have a strong grasp of all the necessary concepts.
Every day nurses come into contact with people of all ages and from all walks of life. A course in psychology takes some of the guesswork out of discerning how personal situations and thought processes influence the way these people behave. Illness or injury often exacerbates existing problems and can make patients act differently than they would under normal circumstances. If you’ve studied psychology, you should be better able to take an objective stance and think critically about where patients are coming from so that you can provide compassionate care no matter what their attitude.
Studying these subjects will prepare you to work in a hospital, clinic, doctor’s office, rehabilitation center, long-term care facility, school and many other settings in which nursing care is required. Get as much as you can out of your schooling so that you have the knowledge necessary to be effective in the demanding field of nursing.